Summer of Warriors

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” – Maya Angelou

Back to school time and all the extracurricular events that go along with it.  I just posted some pictures of my oldest son’s soccer game on Facebook and in doing so something came to me. Like most parents, my wife and I tend to brag about our kids.  Actually, brag might be too strong of a word here.  Since we live on the other side of the country from my family and many of the friends we have made over the years, we “share” on social media many events and activities our two sons are involved in to keep them updated.  Events and activities that we are proud our sons participate in.

We wanted our children to be well rounded and they both are. Our oldest son is entering his senior year of high school.  He is an honor student, an athlete, plays the saxophone, participated in a musical last year, and most recently joined an a cappella group. He wants to go to medical school. Our youngest son is entering middle school. He is a straight ‘A’ student, an athlete, plays the trombone, and sang in choir last year. He hasn’t a clue what he wants to be yet.

Living in a small town where any news is big news, our oldest son has been in the local newspaper numerous times over the years. Running events, baseball, soccer, track, academics, his musical, and his a cappella group have led to many pictures and mentions in the paper.  He has a lot to be proud about as do we as parents.  Then there is my youngest. He has been in the paper once for baseball and another time for his Odyssey of The Mind competition. Like many younger siblings, he is overshadowed by an older brother. That is why this week I decided to write something about him. Something that won’t make the paper but an event nonetheless that I personally am extremely proud of.

Now if you’ve read this far, I don’t need to go into the benefits of reading. I obviously have strong convictions about the importance of reading and where it leads us.  I wrote a post a while back about one summer I had as a child entitled: Reading and Writing as Punishment.  I discussed this post with my kids and although they both thought it was interesting, I sensed their worry that I might be conjuring up some sort of ‘punishment’ for them. Both of them are avid readers but I have never forced them to read.  I did however suggest they make time to read this summer. They both agreed.

Our oldest read a few books over the summer but also opted to spend time with his friends and girlfriend; very normal for a kid entering his senior year of high school. Our youngest asked to borrow a few books from his brother who literally has a small library in his bedroom.  He chose the WARRIORS series of books.  WARRIORS is a series about feral cats living in clans written by a number of authors who write under the pen name Erin Hunter.  After my son had just started his 4th book of the series in only five days, I picked one of them up, did a bit of quick research and found out this particular book was written by Kate Cary. I quickly found a Kate Cary on Twitter, made sure she was in fact the correct Kate Cary, and thanked her. She responded to me,  and in doing so said to tell my son hello. I snapped a picture of her response and messaged it to my son (and yes, we are that kind of family). This small gesture by Kate meant the world to my son and fueled him to continue reading the series. He continued reading to the extent that we had to start buying books because my oldest son did not have the complete series. No matter what we did or where we went this summer, my son had books with him.

When my son stood at the bus stop last week waiting for the bus, he was heading back to school after having read twenty eight books over his summer vacation. Twenty five of those were from the WARRIORS series and the other three were decent length MA books that he bought during our trips to the books store. Twenty eight books!

The Summer of Warriors comes to a close and as I write this, my oldest son just borrowed the car to go visit his girlfriend and my youngest sits at the dinner table doing his homework, asking me in passing if I knew which continent Belize was in – North America or South America? I smiled and answered “neither, it’s in Central America.” He quickly reminded me that Central America is not a continent. Yeah, I knew that.

OK, I’m bragging.


Upcoming posts for me:

  • Lovely Blog Award post after being nominated by Julie Stock
  • What I’ve Learned From Jonny Quest


  1. emmawicker

    Twenty-eight books!! That is brilliant, what a great lad. Both of your boys sound wonderful, you have every right to be proud of them, I’m sure they are pretty proud of their parents too.

    • W.C. Cunningham

      The best part about this is he is still reading and asked me to order him more books.

      • emmawicker

        That’s pretty cool, actually – it’s ace. I think it’s so important that children read. You’ve done well nurturing a little bookworm 🙂

  2. denarogers

    Sounds like you and your wife have plenty to brag about. And 28 books over the summer! Wow!!! By the way, my boys love the Warriors series, so your son has excellent taste.

    • W.C. Cunningham

      My oldest has had these books for years so I was happy to see my youngest get more use out of them. We didn’t have the complete series but have been buying the remainder of them to keep up with his reading.

  3. philosophoenix

    Fantastic! I love that both of your sons are so well rounded, but also that they both possess the inner multiverses offered by reading with imagination. You are justly proud.

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Thank you Erin. I love seeing them both as engrossed in the written word as I am.

  4. kateywrites

    Love this post – for the many ways your family embraces both reading and each other! Be proud and keeping bragging!

    • W.C. Cunningham

      I knew you would appreciate this one. Thanks for stopping by and reading Katey!

  5. sasloveswords

    28 books is definitely something to brag about. I think it’s great when parents brag about their kids… I may have bragged about my son a time or two. 🙂

    • W.C. Cunningham

      It’s good we have things to brag about right? Thanks for reading!

  6. Charli Mills

    It’s great when parents believe in their children and foster the best in each. It will set a strong foundation for your boys. Love that the writer was responsive to your son and that it inspired even more reading. Perhaps you’ll have a proud moment one day, as I have had when my daughter started writing, too!

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Thanks for reading and commenting Charli. Very cool that your daughter started writing!

  7. Georgia Rose

    Twenty eight books is quite something and definitely to be bragged about and both your boys sound terrific. I have one avid reader and one reluctant reader (I would be happy with one book over the summer!) and both make me burst with pride in so many different ways, sometimes big sometimes small, such is the way for parents.

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